We have just started thinking about purchasing a property. Where/what do we start first?

You need to connect with a Mortgage Specialist.  Either a Mortgage broker or a Mortgage Specialist at your local bank.  See our *Trusted Services/Trades Providers for our recommended options.

Can I book appointments to view a property on my own without a realtor?

Yes however it is not recommended for many reasons:

  1. You are not protecting your best interests.
  2. You are not giving your own realtor an opportunity to do many things;
    • Gain a rapport with the listing agent enabling them greater possibility for better negotiating for your potential offer.
    • It's best for your realtor to see what they are negotiating on.
    • Greater opportunity to ask the right questions
    • Better evaluate the Market Value of that particular property

Is a Contract of Purchase and Sale a legally binding contract?

Yes, if executed correctly.  It is important that you have someone that is experienced in drafting and executing these documents and who is always looking out to protect your best interest.   It could be a Real Estate Agent, Lawyer and/or a Notary.

If I have my home listed and someone comes to my door inquiring about my property and asking to buy. What should I do?

No. 1, for your safety, do not let them in.  Instead provide them with your real estate agent &/or Realtor’s contact information, suggesting they contact you.   Your realtor will be able to provide them with all of the necessary information.  If they are serious, they will call and with any luck, you will have an offer to consider.   

No. 2. If you signed a Multiple Listing Contract with a Real Estate Agent &/or Realtor, you are obligated to do the above and to advise them of the interest.  

How do I determine the market value of a property?

There are many variables that go into determining a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).   A Realtor can assist you with that.   They will likely provide you with the Active, Expired and Sold listings from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) which are comparable properties and will make any necessary adjustments to determine the current market value.   

  • Things to consider when making adjustments for a detached property:   The age, condition of property, location, size, style, no. of bedrooms and bathrooms, no. of floors, curb appeal and future of location.
  • Things to consider when making adjustments for strata properties:  Is there a depreciation report &/or engineering reports, restrictions, bylaws, the condition of property, location, which floor are they located on, the size, style, age, no. of bedrooms and bathrooms, no. of floors,

What is the difference between a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and a Bank Real Estate Appraisal.

“CMA is a method of property valuation real estate professionals use to estimate the value of residential properties; a CMA provides a range of value. This helps sellers set a listing price for their property. CMAs examine the prices at which similar properties in the same area have recently sold.

A real estate appraisal, on the other hand, is a formal, impartial estimate or opinion of value, usually in writing, of a specific property, as of a specific date, which is supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant data pertinent to a property. Appraisals provide a defined value for the property, rather than a range as in a CMA.” as per RECA June 16/22

Who will pay for the Bank’s Real Estate Appraisal?

That will depend on your agreement and the terms of your future mortgage?

More often than not, the person(s) applying for the mortgage will be required to pay for the appraisal. 

Can I get a Bank Real Estate Appraisal with any appraiser?

Yes and No.  

If it is for the application of a mortgage, then, no.  The appraiser must be approved by the financial institution.   

If it is for your personal, legal or business use, then yes, you can use who you would like. 

Why would I need an Appraisal if its not for the bank?

You would likely need this type of appraisal to determine the value for legal situations.  Some examples would be;

  • Estates
  • Asset assessments for Divorce/Separation
  • Foreclosures

I have an accepted offer, what now?

This is a difficult question to answer as each contract is different and specific to each subject property.  All we can do for this one is generalize: 

If you are the Buyers:  

  1. Offer Accepted
  2. Satisfy all of the conditions &/or subjects.  If applicable.
  3. Once they have been satisfied, you would then complete a Subject Removal Addendum to officially remove them from the contract. If applicable.  Time is of the essence. 
  4. *Then you would need to provide your deposit cheque.   **This is usually a bank draft and held in trust with the Buyers Real Estate Brokerage until it is released to the lawyers/notaries handling the transaction.  
    *Sometime the deposit is on a schedule basis and then you need to follow the schedule provided
    **Sometimes the deposit is not held in trust with the brokerage.  It is directed to the Seller and is non refundable.   This is not usually recommended.  
  5. Once the conditions have been satisfied and the deposit has been received by the appropriate party, the next steps (generally) are to wait for the lawyers/notary to contact you to set an appointment for Completion.  If you have not heard from them within 2 weeks prior to the Completion date, call them to set up a date and time to meet to sign all appropriate documents. 
  6. Pick up your keys and move in.

If you are the Sellers: 

  1. Offer Accepted
  2. If there were conditions/subjects/requests on the contract, you will need to fulfill all of the Seller's obligations.  
  3. Once you have done your part, you will wait for the Buyer’s to provide you with a subject removal addendum.  There will be a date on the contracts associated with any Buyers Conditions/Subject.  Time is of the essence.
    *There are times when a Buyer requests some changes or clarifications which may require another addendum but that would be at your own discretion. 
  4. Once you have received the subject removal document, then you will wait for confirmation of receipt of the deposit cheque.  
  5. Once the deposit has been received, you would wait for your lawyer/notary to contact you to set up an appointment to sign all of the appropriate documents.  
    *There are times when Sellers have agreed to do something for the Buyers which will need to be fulfilled at the appropriate time.   Again, every contract is different and can vary depending on terms and conditions.
  6. Then you release the keys on the day of possession as instructed/agreed to within the contract.   

What do you do when you first get possession of your new home?

Test all appliances and mechanical systems….Unless otherwise stated, they should all be in working order but discovering it after the first few hours, may cause you problems.   

Are Rainy Days the worst day to view a property?

No.  Actually it can be one of the best days… Rainy days can feel like the worst day because you're getting wet and taking on and off your rain boots can be cumbersome; however, this is an opportunity to see how the property drainage is functioning.  Poor drainage can cause a great deal of damage and can add up to a large expense if not functioning properly. 

Also rainy days may limit your competition.  There are many people who will not house hunt in the rain or if they do, they are not in the right frame of mind to look at a property seriously.   So seize the opportunity. 

What is the difference between a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and a Bank Real Estate Appraisal.

There are two main differences between a CMA and an Appraisal…. 

CMA will provide the Sellers with a “price range” to assist them to determine what the market or list price could be for their home when they sell based on their examination of the subject property and similar properties in their area. A CMA is completed by a Real Estate Agent.  The cost of these are more often than not free. 

An Appraisal considers most of the same data but provides a “defined value”, usually used for Financial Institutions, civil proceedings, income tax or financial reporting.  The Appraisals are completed by a certificate Real Estate Appraiser.       The cost varies. A few determining factors may be the size of the home, the location and/or the  type of report that is needed. 

Can I book appointments to view a property on my own without a realtor?

This answer does not apply to attending “Public Open Houses”.  

Yes you can book your own appointment,  however, you may jeopardize your real estate agent's ability to negotiate a better deal for you and your pocket book. 

  1. The listing realtor should ask you if you are working with another realtor however that doesn’t always happen.  Always be up front as it may upset the listing agent if he doesn't realize you are already working with someone.  It is your agent who should be booking and showing you the property for sale.   
  2. It may affect your agent's commission paid by the Seller.  Which in turn may affect your bottom line if you have signed a Buyers Agency Agreement with your Real Estate Agent.  Within that agreement, you may have promised him/her a certain commission.  Unfortunately, often listing agents will include a notation on their listing in our Real Estate Agents section which states something similar to this; if the Listing Agent first introduces the property to the Buyer, then they will reduce the Buyers Agent commission to $$ (a very small amount), aftecting your agents commission by thousands of dollars.  This would leave you possibly owing the balance of the promised commission to your real estate agent.  

Sometimes people don’t want to bother their own Agent…. Always remember, this is their job… this is part of the reason they get paid the money they get paid.   They should be viewing the property if you want them to determine an estimated value of that property.   It is in your best interest to have your Real Estate Agent booking and attending as many of the properties as possible.  


How much do I need to put down when I am applying for a mortgage for an investment property?

 20% but this can vary depending on your situation.  It is best to contact your mortgage person to confirm.   If you do not have a mortgage person, you can refer to our “Insider Access” for our Mortgage Specialist recommendations.

How much do I need to put down for a mortgage on a property that was a previously a grown operation?

These mortgages are very difficult to obtain and currently only available through some Credit Unions.   The down payment is dependent upon your information and the subject property.   Something to note;  these mortgages thow available, often have higher interest rates and require a much higher down payment.  

If I am self-employed, what are the hurdles that I may face when applying for a mortgage?

Number 1 hurdle would be the ability to prove your income.   Some banks will consider the income of your company where others will not.

What is the difference between a Mortgage Broker and going directly to the Banks?

Mortgage brokers have access to a number of banks whereas the banks are only able to offer their own products. Independent mortgage brokers have access to multiple lenders, mortgage rates and terms. Not always but often having the ability to negotiate the lowest rate for you.   Both often have the ability to meet you where it is suitable to you… however, some bank representatives are limited when and where they are able to see you.

What type of Mortgage Person is best suited for me and my situation?

This is something you will need to take the time to do your due diligence.   You will need to make a few calls & or send some emails to see who may be able to help you.   You can refer to our “Insider Access” section  for our Mortgage Specialist  recommendations


Do assessments assist in determining the market value of a property?

Some realtors will say yes it does.. However, we disagree with this…. Often the assessments are based on old data.  Those completing the assessments do not often go into the property.  Therefore is not able to assess the condition and/or any changes the property has endured…  especially those that are done without a permit.  


What are the differences between properties types?  What do you own?

  1. Freehold Strata (Condo-Townhouse) / 
  2. Freehold Non-Strata (Detached Houses - Duplex - Rowhouses?)  / 
  3. Bareland Strata (Homes) / Leasehold (Attached/Detached)

What are some of the things we should be watching for when purchasing acreage?

There are many variables that can come into play depending on the kind of acreage you are looking at.  Here are just a few;   

  1. Zoning - Residential or Agricultural
  2. Type of farming - Hobby or otherwise
  3. Septic System 
  4. Well Systems
  5. Water Quality 
  6. Who supplies the water
  7. Slopes
  8. Erosion 
  9. Creeks 
  10. Lakes 
  11. Outbuildings
  12. Environmental Hazards
  13. Drainage 
  14. Flood plain
  15. Easements
  16. Rights of Way

For more specific details about each, feel free to contact us.


Can I contact the local police department to determine if a home/property ever had a legal or Ilegal Grow Operation there?

You can however but generally they do not have too much information that they can provide as it is against the privacy act.

What does it mean when a home has been remediated?

Remediation process is when the use of specialized equipment and methods to ensure complete removal while preventing new growth of mold.  There should be documents surrounding this information.

If there is a home that has been remediated and the seller has all of the proof from the municipality etc…, when I go to sell this property, do I need to disclose this information to potential new buyers?

Yes.  You must disclose details.  

If the grow op was in the home years and years ago, do I need to disclose it to the potential new buyers?



What is a deposit?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a deposit as follows: “A sum payable as a first installment on the purchase of something or as a pledge for a contract, the balance being payable later.”

Why do I need to pay a deposit?

Providing a deposit demonstrates you are committed to the transaction and will go forward with the deal on the Completion Date.   Your deposit will form part of and is included in the purchase price of the property.

Who do I pay the deposit to?

Typically the deposit is payable and held in a “trust” account of the Real Estate Broker, Lawyer or an Accountant until Completion Date.

What is a trust account? Why would a deposit be held in a trust account?

A trust account is used exclusively for money received or held by a real estate brokerage for or on behalf of another person in relation to a real estate transaction and is not to be used to hold moneys for any other purpose.

Do I pay the deposit directly to the Seller?

Yes you can, however, it is not recommended.  Usually, the deposit is held in a trust account by the Buyers Agents Brokers, a lawyer or an accountant.  See the question above regarding the reason it is important to have your deposit held in a trust account.

Does my deposit go towards the purchase?

Yes.   Your deposit is held “in trust” with the assigned representative noted within the contract.  Then the lawyers &/or notaries will obtain these funds from the representatives when the time is right.  Usually closer to the completion date.

What if, in the end, I can’t pay for the purchase of the subject property? Will I get my deposit back?

When purchasing a property, when is the deposit due?

Unless otherwise agreed to, it will be due within 24hrs after all of the subjects have been removed.   New developments may have a deposit structure with different percentages of deposit payable at different times.

How much do I need to put down for my deposit to secure my purchase?

What you offer for a deposit is up to you.   Whether the sellers agree to your offer is another thing.   Often we will see 5% of the purchase price offered as the deposit however sometimes it is less and sometimes it is more.

Once again, new developments often have their deposit requirements set out right from the beginning.  


When I purchase or sell a residential property what taxes and fees do I need to pay?

It is always recommended that you refer to your lawyer/notary &/or accountant when determining the exact amount that you specifically will need to pay.  The following is just a guide of some of the customary expenses you may incur when purchasing or selling a home.

Costs to be Borne by the Seller (not limited to)
· Lawyer or Notary Fees and Expenses
· Attending to execution of documents
· Costs of clearing title, including
· Discharge fees charged by encumbrance holders,
· Prepayment penalties
· Real Estate Commission plus applicable taxes (GST)
· Capital Gains – (applicable to rental property-paid at tax time)
·  Moving Expenses (Strata’s have move out fees)

Costs to be Borne by the Buyer (not limited to)
· Lawyer or Notary Fees and Expenses
· Searching title,
· Investigating title
· Drafting documents,
· Land Title Registration fees
· Survey Certificate (if required)
· Costs of Mortgage, including:
· Mortgage company’s Lawyer/Notary
· Appraisal (if applicable)
· Land Title Registration fees
§ Fire Insurance Premium
§ Property Inspection (if you have requested-always recommended)
-May include: home inspection, oil tank inspection, radon inspection, pool inspection, specialty inspections (electrical, roof etc)
§ Sales Tax (if applicable)
§ Property Transfer Tax

  • 1% of the fair market value up to and including $200,000
  • 2% of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
  • 3% of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000
  • Further 2% on residential property over $3,000,000
  • If you’re a foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee, you must also pay the additional property transfer tax on the fair market value of the residential portion of the property if the property is within a specified area of B.C.

**Always refer to the Government of BC’s website for the most up to date tax information and calculator. Property transfer tax - Province of British Columbia

§ GST 5% on any new property

§ Moving Expenses (If strata property; Strata’s have move in fees)

Who collects the taxes/fees and when?

Usually your lawyer or notary will collect all of the fees and taxes and then will disburse them to appropriate parties.   However, there are times when you will be asked to pay curtain items directly and within a curtain time frame.

What if I don’t appreciate my current Real Estate Agent and want to fire them? What do I, do?

What is Capital Gain, Capital Loss?

Capital gain – You have a capital gain when you sell, or are considered to have sold, a “capital property” for more than the total of its adjusted cost base and the outlays and expenses incurred to sell the property.

Capital loss – You have a capital loss when you sell, or are considered to have sold, a capital property for less than the total of its adjusted cost base and the outlays and expenses incurred to sell the property.

Capital property – This includes depreciable property, and any property which, if sold, would result in a capital gain or a capital loss. You usually buy it for investment purposes or to earn income. Capital property does not include the trading assets of a business, such as inventory. Some common types of capital property include:

  • cottages
  • securities, such as stocks, bonds, and units of a mutual fund trust
  • land, buildings, and equipment you use in a business or a rental operation 

Information above provided by” Government of Canada Revenue Agency. Please refer to their site for the most up to date information. Revenue Agency Information

How much and when do I have to pay Capital Gains Taxes?

This question has been answered in the question above however to simplify that information:  

Capital Gains is paid when the value of your investment property as defined above… has increased in value from the time you purchased to the time you sell.   If you have lived in this property, it would be based on the increased market value of the property from the date you moved out to the date you sold the property.  The amount which you will pay, will be based on your income from the year that you sold this property.   If you are seeking this type of venture, we always recommend you seek professional legal and tax advice.  


If a property previously had an oil tank which has since been professionally removed, do I need to disclose this information to the potential buyers?

No, as long as the Oil tank has been removed and there has been no contamination to any of the soil.

Whose responsibility is it to remove an oil tank if one is discovered during the sales of the property?

That would depend on what has been included in your Contract of Purchase and Sale.  Some will say the Seller needs to remove and remediate any/if any contamination of the soil.   Some will be silent.  This is something you can discuss with your realtor &/or your Lawyer to determine the responsibility.  

When did they stop installing Oil Tanks on property?

In Greater Vancouver they stopped installing them in and around 1957.  

See the following for more information on Oil Tanks. Underground Oil Tank Information

How do I know if there is an oil tank on the property?

You can start at your local fire department.  They may have records of an oil tank previously being in existence or they may not.  

If the fire department does not have any records, it is always recommended to have an oil tank inspection completed.   Keep in mind.  The oil tank inspection can only survey the areas around the home which are exposed… Some inspectors will look around the outside of the building to see if there are any signs of an oil tank below the building(s) but there is no guarantee.   You can only do the best possible.  

Why didn’t homeowners have the oil tanks removed when they stopped using it?

There could be many reasons why…. Some would have just crushed it and buried it, some would have filled them with sand and buried them….. Neither of these are good for the soil and the environment….   The list goes on and on… different types, different ideas…

How much does it cost to remove an oil tank from a property?

There are many factors that will come into play when when dealing with the removal of an oil tank… Lay of the land, sloped or flat, by a creek or stream, under a home or not, how deep do they need to go, do they need to involve Oceans and Fisheries and a big one would be whether or not the surrounding soil has been contaminated or not.  We have just named a few factors that come in when determining the cost of the removal so as you can see it can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What is radon and do I need to worry?

“Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when the uranium in soil and rock breaks down. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless. When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces like homes, it can accumulate to high levels.”

Testing for Radon Gas should take a minimum of 91 days.  It is simple to test.   See Radon Gas Information for more information on health risks etc. 


I am a Senior… are there any Seniors Centres around?

Find a Seniors Centre near you? 

Seniors First BC Directory


I am new to the area, where can I register my children for extra curricular activities?

Community Recreation Centers have a great variety of activities and programs (sports, arts, music etc) for kids.  There are different times of year where there are extra spring camps, summer camps, winter break camps etc.   The really good camps will book right away so be sure to sign up as soon as it is available.

What about schools and information for my children?

Schools within BC range from Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, College and Universities.   Click here for more information.


What if I don’t appreciate my current Real Estate Agent and want to fire them? What do I, do?

It is often very simple but can have its hiccups.   

If you are a Seller then you will need to refer to your Listing Agreement for the specific details and your obligations surrounding the cancellation of the agreement..   Often you can advise the realtor in writing that you no longer wish to work with them…. They will refer to their managing broker who will need to sign a release, completely ending the relationship.   Before you approach another Real Estate Agent for services. 

If you are a Buyer, it will depend on whether you signed a Buyer's Agency Agreement Contract or not…. If you did not sign a contract with them, it is recommended that you notify the agent in writing that you no longer require their services.   If you signed a Buyers Agency Agreement, it will be the same as noted above for the Sellers.  You will need to refer to that contract for the specific details and your obligations surrounding the cancellation of the agreement and go from there.

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